The Miami River flood pump building is now decorated with Sts’ailes artwork and intrepretive signs outlining the Indigenous history of the area. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Qwólts Park now officially open in Harrison

The new park by the flood pump incorporates Sts’ailes heritage into the community

Harrison Hot Springs is now home to a new park, which will showcase some of the area’s Indigenous history.

On Friday (Sept. 6), Harrison officially unveiled Qwólts Park, located at the Miami River flood pump just past the Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

“We hope that this park provides an opportunity for people to connect with one another and with nature, and learn about the history and people of the area,” mayor Leo Facio said during the opening.

The park was the result of a multi-year project, starting before 2016 when Harrison was first working to get its 60-year-old flood pump replaced with a modern, fish-friendly version.

The flood pump was replaced in 2016, and that year received an $81,000 grant for “beautification” in the area. Three years later, the project was finally complete.

RELATED: Beautification coming for flood pump thanks to $80K grant

The new park includes art installations on the flood pump building itself, including Sts’ailes images of salmon, sturgeon and the Sasquatch. The building also five animal statues donated from the previous council, and interpretive signage on the history of Sts’ailes occupation in the area.

Harrison councillor Ray Hooper unveiling the sign for Qwolts Park at the Miami River flood pump Friday. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

The park also includes seating looking over the lake, and a new sign with the name “Qwólts Park,” after the Halq’émeylem word for boiling water or hot water, referring to the hot spring.

“I’m really honoured, and I feel very privileged to see this in my time, where there’s this kind of working relationship,” Sts’ailes band member Chaquawet Willie Charlie said. “Taking our language and our name of places, and recognizing it.”

The name has its connection to not only the hot spring, but also ancient village that was located near it.

“They called the village that was here and the people that lived here, Qwó:ils. It was the place of the medicine water, the place of the healing water,” Charlie said.

“Our elders say that people would travel here for great distances” to bathe in the hot spring’s water, Charlie said. Visitors would also rub the mud around the hot spring onto themselves, and sometimes drink a tiny amount of the water to help cure digestive problems.

After the ceremony, Charlie told that Sts’ailes story of how the hot spring came to be.

“We’re told that real medicine food for us is fish head soup,” Charlie explained. “Here there was some fishermen, that when the fish was really scarce, they caught some fish and were going to make fish head soup. And they weren’t going to share it.”

The fishermen were boiling their soup by the lake when Xa:ls, a transformer who was sent to make things right in the land, came upon them and turned them to stone.

“That boiling water, that medicine water, was from that fish head soup and kept it going,” Charlie said. “There’s lots of deep stories, and today you get a little glimpse of it.”

The park opening was attended by Sts’ailes drummers, as well as MLA Laurie Throness, who helped secure money for the project back in 2016, and members of Harrison council.



[email protected]bserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Cascade’s author talk will discuss potlatch history, education

Davidson’s history and education come together for informative presentation

Homeless count is coming to the Fraser Valley to help track the numbers

Training Feb. 27 in Chilliwack to help volunteers adopt respectful and compassionate approach

Mya Onos gears up for B.C. Winter Games

The decorated speed skater starts competing Friday

REAL ESTATE: The affordability crisis within the BC land market

Real estate columnist Freddy Marks says new buyers are outside looking in with B.C.’s high market

UPDATE: ‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

VIDEO: Giants winning streak ends at 11 after a 2-1 setback Saturday in Everett

Run of wins matched their longest ever regular season winning streak

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Most Read